The Texting Generation

by JL Beeken on 9-23-2009

This is somewhat about computers and a comment on generational differences, so I’ll sneak it in here under the guise of computer-related stuff for genealogists.

The college administrator is 21 years younger than I am and I get a real charge out of her boundless energy. She goes all day, like Tarzan through the trees, swinging from one project to another and one person to the next, smiling the entire time. She has a mind like a giant filing cabinet. She remembers everything that gets said, even if it was months ago. Ten minutes after we met she was already finishing my sentences because my speech was too slow for her all-encompassing perception. I hope they’re paying her a gazillion dollars an hour because she’s truly amazing.

Texting GenerationBut … she can’t spell. And she doesn’t pay much attention to English grammar. When she gets on a keyboard, there’s no such thing as paragraph spacing. Oftentimes there’s no punctuation. There are no spaces after commas. Sometimes there are no periods at the end of sentences. Sometimes there are no sentences.

Several months after I secretly added proof-reading to my list of jobs, she said, “Well, what do you expect? I’m from the texting generation.”

AHA! I really do have this job until the day I die. So I took it a step further and subscribed to everywhere she might post something online. That way I get email notifications and can sneak over there real quick and fix everything before too many other people see it.

And then today it suddenly occurred to me. I’ve received perfectly legible writing from my nieces and nephews who are the same age. Maybe texters back East are different from texters out West? Is it generational or is she just having me on?

I hope it’s not generational because if we think deciphering handwritten text from bygone eras is hard, just wait another hundred years until this woman is some-one’s great great-grandmother and they’re trying to figure out what she meant by vdfFylly,27J;!!d akKf dey” a

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard 9-25-2009 at 4:27 AM

Is she, perhaps, dyslexic…?

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JL 9-25-2009 at 10:04 AM

That’s probably a serious question and, if the answer was Yes, I wouldn’t be making fun of this situation.

She said to me one day, very seriously, “There’s different ways of spelling things.” To which I responded, “Who ever told you that?” As for punctuation, grammar, and the normally-accepted use of lowercase, capitalization and paragraph spacing, that’s just me being ‘picky’. Obviously, it’s time for some digging deeper.

Update: She has now confessed to being not incapable but in a hurry. That I can understand since the work she does for the school would slay any 10 ordinary mortals.

Since I am officially web fairy, web-designer, webmaster and web-marketer I am, at least in that sense, the public face of the school and her online scribbles and scrawls come under my purview. Or what could be better called ‘my daily terror-ment’. It’s just a matter of time before I discover who she’s been assaulting with the English language lately.

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Richard 9-27-2009 at 4:55 AM

JL – It was a serious suggestion but I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that you would make fun of such a thing. It is just that, so often, one wouldn’t know…

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JL 9-27-2009 at 9:53 AM

Thank you for clarifying. I have two problems here. One, god knows I’m not an expert on dyslexia. Two, my sense of humour doesn’t necessarily translate well to people who have never met me in person or sometimes even to people who have.

If it was just a matter of reversing letters, which anyone can do when in a hurry, that would be one thing, but it goes so far beyond that and it’s not consistent. The busy-ness of her days could be charted on how bad or less bad her writing is. It’s an ongoing source of hilarity between us and I don’t think she’d mind me letting you in on the fun.

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